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Learn about Univers’ family.

family history

A Homogeneous Body

Univers is considered one of the first typographic “superfamilies. Adrian Frutiger conceived a modular design that would include 21 unique variations to be interchanged freely in designs. The combinations of different weights and widths are identified by number pairs, where the first digit indicates the font’s weight (thin to extra black), and the second digit reflects the font’s width and slope (extended to ultra condensed, roman or oblique). This distinctly Swiss-style family quickly grew to 27 faces, and the latest iteration from 2010, Univers Next, boasts 63.

univers (Adrian Frutiger, 1957) is a neo-grotesque sans serif conceived as a total system for both metal and photosetting. A departure from Futura’s severity and Helvetica’s invisibility, Univers’ simple, homogenous structure is legible from afar and appropriate for long text. The numbering system for its 21 styles was a response to naming inconsistencies. With horizontally-cut curve ends, a square dot over the i, and G without a spur, Univers is neutral to different languages, as well.

family portrait

Univers globetrots to institutions as a panelist and
visiting critic but feels at home only in Switzerland.